Exercise Gemini, the combined coastal security exercise of Kerala and the Lakshadweep group of islands, conducted to revalidate the coastal security apparatus of the region, is slated to begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
The 48-hour exercise is believed to be the first step towards integrating compartmentalised, State-specific coastal security exercises with a view to fashioning a single integrated security drill along the country’s 7,200-km coast.
Security experts say that such an exercise will help the coastal security stakeholders identify and plug potential fissures in security, as it simulates simultaneous occurrence of dynamic security scenarios at multiple locations in coastal India.
“It will sure help the forces evolve and standardise response mechanisms in the event of threats emanating from various sources across the length and breadth of the coast, including the country’s island territories.
Overtime, such exercises will fine-tune their response and help the forces remain better-prepared to tackle improvised threats,” say sources.
Gemini will be a multilateral security drill combining Kerala’s Triton and Lakshadweep’s Neptune series of half-yearly security exercises. Massive mobilisation of forces from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, Coastal Police, Intelligence Bureau, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Light ships and the Departments of Fisheries, Port, Customs and Coastal Shipping and Inland Water Navigation is taking place for the drill.
The members of the Kadalora Jagrata Samiti comprising seagoing fishermen who act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the security agencies will also get a chance to prove their worth by alerting the ‘protective’ forces to potential threats in their vicinity.
The Joint Operations Centre (JOC) located at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi will be the nerve centre of the exercise. However, the Coast Guard stations at Fort Kochi and Kavaratti will independently coordinate the action taking places in their respective regions.
The exercise will validate the functioning of the coastal security sensor chain recently operationalised along the coast of Kerala.
A number of warships, patrol crafts, fishing boats, maritime recce aircraft such as Dornier, Chetak helicopters, Air Force’s Mi-17 troop-carrying helicopters and An-32 transport aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles of the Navy will be pressed into service for the exercise.